Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is Frau Dietz doing?

In answer to one of the questions that was repeated marginally less than 82,000 times over the Christmas period by my 4 year old nephew (although admittedly he doesn't call me Frau Dietz), I am this week mostly:

■ being as teetotal and as close to vegetarian as I’m ever going to get as part of B and my self-inflicted Health Month, the point of such austere sobriety being to shift one or two of the kilos that have slowly embraced my girth since we moved here last March.  We have even bought scales and selected end-of-month weight-loss prizes (although given that B has chosen as his prize his favourite album on vinyl, I suspect he may well win regardless of the actual results)

■ swimming very hard (see above)

■ observing the Rhein: first it rose so high that the island in the middle all but disappeared; now it's so foggy that as one crosses over it, the river is no longer even visible

■ speaking a LOT of German: not only in my classes but also now at home with B, which is satisfying.  I have also suddenly lost the fear of talking to people and even if it’s just down to the fact that I’m turning into my mother, I’m practising on anyone who so much as glances in my direction (particular apologies this week go to the poor chap who runs the deli where I was attempting to buy a Turkish spice mix; the lady who runs the Asian supermarket who has seen so much of me in the last ten days that she’s started giving me free things in an attempt to get me out of her shop; and the grandma in the frozen section of Tegut on Saturday who made the mistake of asking if my sprouts were in a good condition)(this is not a euphemism)

■ watching a lot of the German crime drama Tatort, which is a national institution that's been introduced by the same theme tune every week since it started 40 years ago.  (I have of course developed a series of special Tatort dance moves to compliment the music.)  I sort of feel I know where I stand with a whodunit, so even when I can’t understand a word anyone’s saying I at least know they’re trying to work out, for example, who stuffed a fish into the mouth of some poor dead woman shortly after the opening credits

■ reading other people's diaries: by day, Vann Nath's Cambodian Prison Portrait and by night, since I felt that a personal record of a year’s torture in the S-21 prison wasn’t ideal bedtime reading, especially for someone prone to exhaustingly lucid dreams, James Boswell’s London Journal

■ speaking English with small German and Italian children (for their benefit not mine,  though I hasten to add that my colouring-in has been coming along in leaps and bounds this week).

And to think it’s only Tuesday.  I'm exhausted.  Time to climb into bed with Boswell.


Munich Ami said...

Glad to read about your success learning German! It gives me hope. I've been here since mid-November and have found my lack of fluency incredibly frustrating and a bit isolating. Even though many people speak English, I avoid it all costs as the thought of being labeled a "mono-lingual, arrogant American" makes me cringe. O_o

Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

Keep it up with your healthy eating...you're more than half way there :)

You've officially crossed over the biggest hurdle when it comes to learning German and that is no long being terrified to speak it. Of course I still have utter moments of panic when my tongue trips all over itself often, after 10 years, but it took me a whole lot longer to actually want to be out in an environment where I had to interact. Of course now that we have a 2 year old at home, everyone just looks at her rather than me :)

Frau Dietz said...

@Munich Ami I totally understand how you feel, though I seem to remember you're much further ahead with your German than I was when I got here so I'm sure you are doing far better than you think you are :) I'm not yet aiming for fluency... my goal is merely some level of coherency!!

and @Tiffany Thank you for the support and encouragement! I'm really pleased to have got over this hurdle, it was a really enormous one for me. I never have enough words for what I want to say, but I'm no longer afraid to hop about and mine. I think that's the next issue I need to deal with ;)

minidietz said...

Ah!Tatort!Good news!!! But you know where the Tatort fish was from? KONSTANZ! I am really sorry though that this was such a bad Tatort..lots are. But some are really good. And anyways it is an addictive tradition. Oh, and can you please bomb the hypovereinsbank infront of beautful romantic foggy Mainzer Dom?

fiona said...

Hello! Hello! Hmm..Tatort, would you recommend it? I need to find new ways to improve my German and this could be relatively painless. Is it anything like 'Columbo'? Do they stop and point out when they are speaking using Konjunktiv II? Not that Columbo ever did that, but his adjective endings were second to none.

Anonymous said...

I think you will pick up handsome strangers much more easily if you speak English .
And you have forgotten that you used to cuddle Boswell when you were four . He was big and furry and needed private prescriptions for steroids .
The girl from Ipanema

Laurel said...

You've been busy! I try and eat semi vegetarian, but it's hard living with a German guy who likes his meat. Your comments about practicing your German made me laugh as I feel sorry for the ladies in my deli as well! I'm hoping to start understanding German tv in the next few months. I'm currently stuck on Clifford der Rote Hund :)

Pretty Poet said...

oh oh, we're doing number 1 too... which is probably why I'm not enjoying this sneaky glass of wine as much as I would... my body is too cleaaan for toxins (which I was previously told were antioxidants- see twitter update for further lies concerning small harmless glasses of wine)... hmmm prize for most weight loss... that's a thought... though we're both quite vain so the fact that one of us will end up looking fitter than the other is plenty prize for the winner :)... (not used that word for ages... fit... fitter... fittest... )

Frau Dietz said...

Wow, so many comments!! Thank you all :)

@Minidietz: We got really excited about the fish being in Konstanz!! There have been a couple of quite good Tatorts recently we thought... but is that ginger man now going to be in every episode forever?

@Fiona: I would totally recommend Tatort but I usually give up 3/4 the way through and just ask B to tell me who did it. Also my murder and death vocabulary now makes up a large percentage of my total vocabulary. I find dubbed programmes much easier to understand - they do Spooks on Neo and Midsomer Murders ("Inspector Barnaby") on ZDF... The one that isn't John Nettles is quite good dubbed in German.

@Anonymous (from Ipanema): I have absolutely no recollection of a Boswell. Must have blocked him out.

@Laurel: I had never heard of Clifford der Rote Hund... sounds much more like my level!! Am going to search for him immediately. ps your blog makeover is amazing! I want mine to look that nice :(

@Pretty Poet ...fittest ...happiest ... most productivist. Since you are the most gorgeous couple IN THE UNIVERSE I think you can both afford a small glass of toxins on occasion. Or every evening. I love your little glimpse-into-planet-JK comments, thank you :) xxx